St Theresa's School (Plimmerton)

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School Context

St. Theresa’s School (Plimmerton) is a state integrated Catholic primary school catering for children in Years 1 to 6. Of the 184 learners enrolled, 16% identify as Māori and 8% as Samoan.

The Catholic special character of the school is supported by the school’s mission statement - ‘To live, learn and love with Jesus, being the best we can be’. The recently implemented SPARK values of Self-control, Positivity, Aroha, Respect and Kindness are underpinned by the school’s gospel values of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, respect, gratitude, courage & resilience and forgiveness & mercy.

The school’s strategic aim is focused on enabling all students to develop as autonomous learners within a holistic learning framework, which provides them with opportunities to experience success. Annual student achievement targets focus on improving the outcomes of learners deemed at risk of not achieving in reading, writing and mathematics.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress and achievement in targeted programmes
  • wellbeing and attendance.

At the time of the June 2016 ERO review the principal had been recently appointed. Staffing has remained stable over this time.

The school is a member of the Northern Porirua Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

School data for 2016 and 2017 indicates that most students, including Māori and students of Pacific heritage, achieve at or above the school’s expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

In 2018, school achievement information shows that almost all students are working within or above their curriculum level in reading and mathematics. Most learners, including Māori, achieve within or above their curriculum level in writing. All Pacific heritage learners achieve within or above their level in mathematics.

Learners with additional and complex needs are identified and programmes of support put in place. Individual education plans are collaboratively developed with appropriate goals to support students to progress in their holistic learning. External expertise suitably supports this provision.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

School data for 2018 shows that some students identified in the school’s achievement targets made accelerated progress and are now on track to meet school expectations.

Cohort data shows that in 2016 and 2017 all children achieved the school’s expectations in reading, writing and mathematics by the end of Year 6.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The learning environment is highly responsive for promoting equity and excellence. The Catholic special character provides a strong foundation for building ongoing relationships and support within the school community. Classrooms practices, including prayer, appropriately promote the school wide valued outcomes. Parents and whānau are welcomed, involved in school activities and contribute to strategic planning. Collaborative, respectful and responsive relationships between staff and students enhance learning and wellbeing.

The school curriculum effectively supports students to become self-managing and owners of their learning. Student voice is used to inform and shape the curriculum, and many children are able to articulate their learning and next steps. Opportunities to connect with the local environment promote children’s sense of place and belonging. Teaching and learning is context related and is enriched by the use of hands on resources.

Collaborative and purposeful leadership supports teaching and learning. The principal engages with the school community to create a positive learning environment which is inclusive, values diversity, and promotes wellbeing. This is clearly aligned to the special character values.

A robust appraisal process, closely linked to the Standards for the Teaching Profession, builds teachers’ capability. Professional development is targeted to support specific areas for growth aligned to the school’s direction. Strategic planning and current professional learning are supporting teachers to investigate ways to integrate te reo Māori into the classroom.

The board actively represents and serves the school and community in its stewardship role. Trustees have a focus on sustainability. They demonstrate a strong commitment to the ongoing promotion of the school and the long term success of all learners.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Leaders and teachers engage with, learn through and use inquiry and evaluation to support decision making and improvement strategies. These are closely aligned to the school’s strategic plan. Collaborative review, including effective analysis of evidence, is regularly undertaken. Specifically identifying the impact of changes made on learner outcomes has been identified by the school as an important next step.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board and principal of the school completed the ERO board assurance statement and self-audit checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of St Theresa’s School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • collaborative, respectful and responsive relationships that enhance learning

  • a localised curriculum that effectively supports children to become self-managing and lead their learning

  • leadership that works collaboratively and purposefully to promote equity and excellence

  • a robust appraisal process which builds teachers’ capability

  • the board’s strong commitment to the school’s valued outcomes.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • using robust internal evaluation to clearly identify the impact of changes made on learner outcomes.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

10 June 2019

About the school

Location

Porirua

Ministry of Education profile number

3025

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

184

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 16%

NZ European/Pākehā57%

Samoan 8%

Chinese 4%

Other ethnic groups 15%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

April 2019

Date of this report

10 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2016

Education Review January 2013

1 Context

St Theresa's School in Plimmerton is a Years 1 to 6 state integrated primary school. At the time of this review 174 students were on the roll, with 17% identifying as Māori and 10% Pacific.

A new principal started at the beginning of 2016.

The school's special Catholic character is valued and supported through close links with the Plimmerton parish and wider Catholic community.

In 2015, the school library was relocated and upgraded to a learning hub to support the school’s aspirations for more effective learning and teaching.

2 Equity and excellence

The school's vision for students 'to live, learn and love with Jesus, being the best we can be' is closely aligned to their Catholic character. There is a strong focus on developing autonomous learners who experience success within the St Theresa's community of learners. To reinforce this, students set goals and inquire into their own learning. This is supported by deliberate, planned strategies schoolwide to develop students’ thinking, resilience, self-confidence and inquiry.

The school’s achievement information shows that the majority of students achieve well. Over the past three years, Māori student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics has exceeded the national targets of 85% of students achieving at or above in relation to the National Standards. Pacific learners have achieved these targets in reading and are close to attaining them in writing and mathematics. Māori and Pacific students are well supported in learning and the development of their leadership skills.

Since the January 2013 ERO evaluation, the school has continued to sustain high levels of achievement through knowing students well and effectively targeting those at risk of underachievement. The school has funded further professional development to increase teacher effectiveness and raise achievement in mathematics.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is highly effective in responding to Māori students’ learning needs. Teachers know individual students well. They maintain a high level of communication with whānau to share information about students’ needs and endeavour to work together to support student success.

The school’s inclusive curriculum enables Māori students to participate, succeed and extend their learning. Expertise from within the local community is used well to support and promote opportunities for Māori students to be successful in learning about their culture and language. The school has a cultural responsiveness plan and is continuing to develop its focus on all Māori learners. Leaders have identified that a next step is to revisit Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017 and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners in greater depth and to review and further develop their strategies for inclusiveness.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Other students at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes are appropriately identified, plans put in place and their progress monitored and evaluated. In 2015, in response to a cohort of students whose learning and achievement required acceleration, the board provided funding for an extra classroom to reduce class sizes to support learning relationships and give students additional attention. This support is continuing in 2016.

Individual education plans are developed for students with high needs and for any student with a specific learning need, a short term education plan is developed in partnership with parents.

A part-time teacher and teacher aides work with students with specific learning needs.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence?

The board of trustees represents and effectively serves the school community in its stewardship role. Trustees demonstrate a good level of understanding of governance and management. They work collaboratively and use effective systems to regularly monitor and evaluate their effectiveness and performance.

School leaders have professional development support in coaching to build skills as leaders and to develop teachers' strengths. Involving others in leadership supports ownership of decision-making and promotes consistency across school priorities and initiatives. There is shared responsibility for promoting positive outcomes for all students, with emphasis on the ongoing development of teacher capability.

Staff are highly reflective and critically examine the impact of their teaching initiatives on outcomes for students. Leaders recognise a need to build deliberate processes to evaluate the impact of innovations in teaching, learning and curriculum design. Next steps are for: internal evaluation to be focused, aligned to sharper, more specific student achievement targets; and for school curriculum documentation to be revised to reflect the good practice evident in the school.

Partnership with parents is well developed. Communication from teachers and leaders keeps families well informed about student learning, school activities and events.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children who need their learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Students overall are achieving highly. Teachers are aware of the need to maintain improvements.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

6 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO board assurance statement and Self Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to the following:

  • Board administration.

  • Curriculum.

  • Management of health, safety and welfare.

  • Personnel management.

  • Asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • Emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment).

  • Physical safety of students.

  • Teacher registration.

  • Processes for appointing staff.

  • Stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions.

  • Attendance.

  • Compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that, to continue their improvement focus, the board and leaders use deliberate strategies and processes to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching, particularly for those students whose learning and progress need acceleration. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

8 June 2016

About the school

Location

Plimmerton

Ministry of Education profile number

3025

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

174

Gender composition

Female 51 %, Male 49 %

Ethnic composition

Maori

Pākehā

Pacific

Other Ethnic Groups

17%

59%

10%

14%

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

8 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2013

November 2009

December 2006